Glasgow City Council’s City Administration Committee has today approved its LEZ plans.

The plans have been slammed by environmental campaigners for delivering a “No Ambition Zone”. The Zone, which covers the city centre, will only apply to cars, taxis, vans, lorries by December 2022. The dirtiest buses will be phased out of the city centre over a 5 year period, with almost no change in the first year. An amendment by the Conservative party to scrap consideration of congestion charging was backed by the SNP.

Air pollution campaigner for Friends of the Earth Scotland Emilia Hanna commented,

“Today’s decision means the toxic, illegal levels of air pollution in Glasgow will carry on poisoning people’s lungs for at least 4 and a half more years. The Council has shown cowardice around tackling this silent killer which causes 300 premature deaths in the city each year. Low Emission Zones were first put on the table in Glasgow back in 2008, promised for the 2014 Commonwealth Games so we’re looking at over a decade for the Council to get its act together.

“Glasgow was named in a UK Supreme Court ruling on illegal air pollution back in 2015, and the Court ordered urgent and immediate action to tackle pollution. Low Emission Zones have been found to be the single most effective measure in tackle toxic air quickly. But today the City Council today has chosen to kick action unnecessarily far down the road. The next World Cup in 2022 will be finished before this Zone even comes into full effect.

How Glasgow’s No Ambition Zone will affect vehicles:
*Cars, vans, taxis and lorries coming into the city centre area will need to be Euro 6 or equivalent compliant (i.e. date from 2015 or have technology fitted which brings them to the same environmental standard) by December 2022

*Only 20% of buses travelling through the city centre will need to be Euro 6 compliant by the end of 2018, then 40% by end of 2019, 60% by 2020, 80% by 2021, until 100% in 2022. Transport Scotland estimates 15% of buses were already compliant by 2017.

Hanna continued on the specifics of today’s meeting:

“The SNP have voted with Conservatives against their own revised plan which would have considered congestion charging for the city. Congestion charging could have taken LEZs to the next level and raised vital resources to plough back into cleaner transport in Glasgow.”


  1. The papers for today’s meeting can be viewed at: http://www.glasgow.gov.uk/councillorsandcommittees/Agenda.asp?meetingid=15555
  2. Minutes of the meeting should be available in due course.
  3. Free to use, print quality photos of an air pollution protest outside Glasgow City Chambers in March are available at https://flic.kr/s/aHsmgcCDZd
  4. Friends of the Earth Scotland blog critiquing the draft plans: https://foe.scot/glasgow-lez-not-progressive/
  5. Glasgow still has illegal levels of air pollution eight years after a binding legal deadline: https://foe.scot/press-release/polluted-streets-list-2017/
  6. Friends of the Earth Scotland estimate that 2500 people die early each year from air pollution in Scotland alone: https://foe.scot/press-release/new-research-means-2500-deaths-a-year-in-scotland-are-from-air-pollution/
  7. Air pollution, at levels seen on Scottish streets, has been linked with:
    *Respiratory illness including asthma and COPD Heart attacks and strokes
    *Low birthweight and delayed development in babies whose mothers have been exposed
    *Poor lung development in children
    *Children, the elderly, people with pre-existing health conditions, and sick are disproportionately affected by air pollution. (for more, see the Royal College of Physicians’ 2016 report, “Every Breath we Take: The lifelong impact of air pollution”: https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/projects/outputs/every-breath-we-take-lifelong-impact-air-pollution
  8. Friends of the Earth Scotland is
    * Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation
    * An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
    * Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 75 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups